SPARE THE ROD... SPOIL THE CHILD
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.
You know that this line has been one that has always been used for the acceptance of corporal punishment in the home and the schools. I remember growing up and having to go to the Vice Principal's office for being tardy two days in a row my senior year and I had to receive either Saturday school or a paddling. I remember that I definitely did not want to go to Saturday school and there is no way that this little woman could swing a paddle the way my dad would swing a belt. Then she pulled out her "BOARD OF EDUCATION" and let me tell you that this lady put my daddy to shame. Needless to say that that was the last time I was every late to school. Now, I also want you to know that this is not a lesson that is going to discuss the good and bad merits of corporal punish at home or in the schools. No... today is an opportunity for us to sit down and have an open conversation about the ability that we have to help others to be protected for the pain and suffering that may occur in their lives based on the lack of discipline that they may have in their lives. I have to be honest that I have witnessed this idea of spare the rod and spoil the child on a first hand basis. I would like to say that in our attempt to do the best we can to offer the most to our children of today, we have caused a situation that many refer to this generation as one of entitlement and unfortunately we are watching this world spin out of control because of the situation that we have created.
Now, I also need you to understand that the rod is not just a physical objet that we would use to "discipline" or protect ourselves. In the times of Jesus, a rod was used by shepherds as a way to protect the flock from predators and as a form of discipline to those who dare stand up against their parents. Today, I am asking that you look at the rod as the WORD of God. I am asking that we take the time to use the WORD of GOD to prepare and equip our children in such a way that allows them the ability to take on the hardships of this world. I believe that when we take away the WORD of GOD that we are causing generations to stumble and fall and we look back and question what happened. I will tell you what happened... we took GOD out of the equation. His WORD is not an OPTION but is a
method of teaching and training in preparation for what is to come in the future. If you spare anyone from the TEACHINGS of GOD, we cannot be surprised that the world is in the condition that it is in.... filled with evil, darkness, confusion of truth and the inability to discover truth from lies. It is not only called discipline but also is A discipline that must continue to pour into our hearts and minds. When we think that our children will just fall into the teachings of God that will apply to their lives, we are setting them up for failure and that pain and suffering they experience will fall on our shoulders. We will be called to the table when we were given these blessings of children to pass on the legacy and teachings of God. We are called to not withhold the teachings of God but to reinforce them in every area of our lives. Where do you think our children and others learn most of their understanding of God's Word... through the examples we live out in our lives. They learn from us the value of God's Word applied in our life.
So I am asking each of us to stop thinking that things are going to get better if we are not willing to step in and do what we have been called to do to equip disciples for the battle. If we spare the ROD... if we spare the reality of TRUTH to the people who are struggling to find truth, then they will seek to redefine truth from the world. When Solomon uses these words today, he is challenging us not to take the easy way out and say that they can just learn it all on their own. NO... we have been given these promises from God to be faithful to teach them and help them to live a disciplined life for God. It does not have to be so difficult because if God is the center of our lives, we just teach them how to apply the lessons of GOD in every aspect and situation that we face. See if we are unable to provide them these foundational teachings, they will face a very hurtful ending in death. Death to those who have given their life to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have no reason to fear death, but those who are just playing the game and have no understanding of God's love and grace in their life with experience death that is more painful than we can even imagine. Death for the unbeliever is a total separation from God for eternity... some people define that as hell and if I am being honest that would feel like hell to me too if I was separated from God for all eternity with no possibility of connection or forgiveness. This is where the reality of Solomon's teaching of wisdom hits us in the center of our hearts. If we are able to teach them and provide the knowledge they need to apply in their lives, we will be able to watch as they are able to avert worldly death and find connection with God.
May we truly look at how we live our lives and how we teach and discipline our children in preparation for the battles that they will face. One of the scariest thoughts that runs through my life every day is the missing time I have to teach and equip those who have been placed in my life. I struggle for the moments I have missed for my own family and pray to God that they are able to see a living example of Christ in my life. I pray that anyone I have had the privilege to encounter will know the power of GOD's WORD... the ROD... as it is applied to my life on a daily basis. I am not saying that we are going to be perfect and that we are not going to stumble from time to time. No... that is how correction and discipline are used to help fortify our foundations. We must be willing to take hold of the opportunities that we have as parents.... as students... as disciples and realize that we are called to make other
disciples. We are called to be examples and help guide others by using the same ROD. We are to help others to see death in a different light and recognize the importance of every day we have to make an impact. I know that I have said a lot today as it references Solomon's teaching today, and I would love to tell you that I have it all figured out because I have been in ministry for over 28 years. But I am still being refined... I am still trying to do all that I can to help lead my family into building stronger foundations for Christ. It means that I have to be disciplined every day of my life in hopes that they see the reality of God in my example. None of us are perfect but I know that we all want to see our family and others rejoicing with us in heaven and not eternally separated in hell. Today's lesson is not one of fear, but one that I hope opens our eyes to the wisdom that Solomon wanted us to apply to our lives. May God continue to refine our lives and may we never spare the rod and allow the child to spoil in death.